Education
Spending on training, learning and development continues to decline slowly in Canadian organizations, according to the results of the Conference Board’s 10th Learning and Development Outlook survey.Canadian organizations in 2008 spent an average of $787 per employee (or 1.5 per cent as a proportion of their payroll) on training, learning and development. In real dollar terms, this level of expenditure represents a 40-per-cent decline over the past decade and a half. Furthermore, employees in 2008 received an average of 20 hours training, down from 26 hours just four years ago – a 30-per-cent decline."Compared to our leading competitor nations, our investment is modest. Furthermore, training, learning and development spending may not be immune to the pressure of the global recession," said senior research associate Alison Campbell. "For the first time since the Conference Board began collecting this data, more organizations are expecting a decrease in their TLD budgets than an increase in the coming year."The report, Learning and Development Outlook 2009: Learning in Tough Times, also provides insights about how organizations use informal learning to augment employee skills. A majority of the 218 respondents believed that more informal learning was occurring in their workplaces than in the past. Respondents estimated that on average 56 per cent of all learning in their organizations occurred informally, a significant increase from previous survey findings. Respondents to the Learning and Development Outlook survey in 2004 said 33 per cent of all learning occurred informally; this number rose to 42 per cent among respondents to the 2006 survey.More than half of responding organizations indicated that they have altered their TLD strategies in response to growing skills shortages. However, two major groups in the labour force – mature workers and new Canadians – are not being widely targeted by employers for training. More programs for these groups could help address skills shortages in the labour force.www.conferenceboard.ca
Watch this video to find out how Ontario manufacturers can qualify for up to $50,000 each to foster training that will lead to advancements in innovation.
WorldSkills will kick off in Calgary on Sept. 1, so watch for exclusive coverage.
Only a week remains until 900 young apprentices make their appearance at the 40th vocational world championships, namely WorldSkills. WorldSkills will be hosted this time around in Calgary from September 1 to 6 2009. Today, we'll focus on the largest competition discipline: mechatronics.The Canadian mechatronics competitors – Andrew Marcolin and Jamie Feenstra – secured their positions at the 2008 Skills Canada competition held in Calgary. Graduates of the Mechatronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology program at St. Clair College, they were also awarded gold medals at the regional, provincial and national competitions in 2007. (For a review of Canada's participation in the event, read "Oh, Canada: Countdown to WorldSkills Calgary 2009.")Along with teams from 30 other nations, Marcolin and Feenstra will compete in this key discipline for the technologies of the future, in hopes of taking home the gold medal for their country." In teams of two each, the apprentices are required to construct actual mechatronic systems at the competition, place them into service and program them, as well as optimize and service them. The challenge: The participants are only fully familiar with one part of the task. The mechatronics teams are not made aware of the largest portion of the problem to be solved until the beginning of the respective competition day."This is the best way for a young mechatronics technician to prepare for actual situations in day-to-day work. When I drive to a customer, I don’t find out exactly what he wants, and how a machine is supposed to be optimized or a system reprogrammed, until I’m actually on location. You have to be highly flexible in this job, and always be ready to adjust to new circumstances," explains Andreas Veil, runner-up at the 2005 WorldSkills.Competence instead of drillingDemands placed upon apprentices have increased over the years. Sybille Bohland, mechatronics trainer at Festo, reports: "When the mechatronics championships first started, each team knew exactly what would await them at the competition. The tendency was to drill the participants. This was not the approach the WorldSkills committee wanted to take. Not learning by rote, but rather genuine interdisciplinary thinking – involving electronics, mechanics and IT – should distinguish a mechatronics technician, i.e. the ability to find ideal solutions to complex problems quickly. For this reason, the contestants have to find their own way: from workstation layout and organization right on up to the actual solution, they decide everything on their own. Only the results are predetermined."A practical orientation is thus top priority at the mechatronics competition. MPS stations from Festo Didactic make it possible. The modular production system offers realistic learning conditions for mechatronics technicians and other related vocations, and thus prepares apprentices ideally for the demands which will be placed upon them in professional life."In addition to technical competence, work oriented learning at MPS stations also promotes soft skills such as independence and team spirit," explains Michael Linn, product manager at Festo Didactic. At the national competition, the MPS system also provides the contestants with the opportunity of demonstrating peak performance under circumstances which come very close to actual industrial conditions.Innovation begins with qualificationFesto initiated competition in mechatronics 17 years ago, and took over sponsorship of WorldSkills Mechatronics. The company supports Skills Canada, and SkillsGermany at the Hanover Trade Fair, the world’s largest industrial exhibition, in the disciplines of mechatronics and mobile robotics.Valuable impetus for vocational training is spawned, business contacts are established and trends for new developments are recognized at WorldSkills. The goal of the vocational world championships is the continuous up-grading and promotion of training and vocational education. Promoting young apprentices and inspiring them for technology is an important task for the company."Education, innovation and technology are the key factors for further expanding our technological peak performance. Education is not only the responsibility of the government. And this is particularly true in the case of future oriented vocations. For this reason, Festo supports top performance in the areas of training and international educational standards by means of national and international projects such as SkillsGermany and WorldSkills Mechatronics," explains Dr. Eberhard Veit, chairman of the board of directors and director of technology and market positioning at Festo AG.Coming soon: In the mobile robotics competition, 14 international teams will compete against each other. Team Canada’s Mobile Robotics competitors are represented by Pavlo Tovaryanskyy and Myles Robinson, of Technical Vocational High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and were gold medal winners of robotics in both the provincial and national skills competitions in 2008.
Skills Canada, a national not-for-profit organization that actively promotes careers in skilled trades, has announced that Team Canada, also known as the "Great 38" – along with trainers, industry experts and delegates – is making its way to Calgary this week to participate in the 40th WorldSkills Competition, which takes place from September 1 to 7, 2009.Team Canada will compete against more than 900 Competitors from 51 WorldSkills International Member countries/regions in Olympic-style team and individual competitions within specialized skilled trade and technology categories."We are very proud of the hard work and training Team Canada has undertaken over the last year," said Shaun Thorson, executive director of Skills/Compétences Canada. "They are confident and prepared to compete alongside the best skilled trade and technology students and apprentices from around the world. With support and encouragement from the Government of Canada, industry leaders and educators, these talented young individuals represent the future of Canada's skilled trade and technology workforce, and we couldn't be more proud."This will be Canada's tenth participation in a WorldSkills Competition, which takes place every two years and brings together the world's brightest in skilled trades and technology. This is the largest team Canada has sent, with 38 competitors in the Competition. The Team Canada members will participate in 35 of the 45 skills categories. At the last WorldSkills Competition, held in Japan in 2008, Canada won six medals, eight international competency certificates and the Albert Vidal Award for the Competitor that achieves the overall highest score out of all Competitors in all skill categories."Our Government encourages those considering a career in the skilled trades by providing Apprenticeship Grants for eligible apprentices," said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "Team Canada and their fellow competitors at WorldSkills Calgary 2009 represent the future. Our country needs to prepare now for an economic recovery and the increasing skills shortages that are expected to come with it."
More than 400 of the world’s top nanotechnology researchers from over 40 countries will be gathering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., from August 12 to 14 to discuss developments in the world of the near invisible.Their findings are already being incorporated into the next generation of solar cells, cell phones, consumer electronics, and medical devices.The 14th Canadian Semiconductor Technology Conference (CSTC2009) and the Nano & Giga Challenges in Electronics, Photonics and Renewable Energy Symposium and Summer School are being held jointly with a focus on scientific and technological problems related to electronics, photonics and renewable energy at the atomic scale.Topics of discussion will include: bio- and molecular electronics and photonics; high frequency electronics; fabrication of nanodevices; magnetic materials and spintronics; optoelectronics; nanoCMOS; nano optics and lasers; non-silicon materials and devices; quantum effects in devices; and next-generation solar cells and hydrogen and electrochemical energy storage. The CSTC forum was established 25 years ago in Ottawa and this year’s event will be only the second time it is held outside of the national capital region. Previous Nano & Giga Challenges symposia have been held in Moscow (2002), Krakow (2004), and Phoenix (2007).asdn.net/ngc2009www.science.mcmaster.ca/cstc2009
Dassault Systèmes has announced that Focus: HOPE’s Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT) is implementing DS’ DELMIA digital manufacturing and CATIA digital design solutions as part of its manufacturing engineering education process. This opportunity was made possible through grant monies received by Focus: HOPE and through the DS Academic Partnership Program, whereby educational institutions receive software, training and certification at a fraction of its commercial value. "Equipping our students with skills that prepare them for entry into the workforce is a critical part of our education process," said Focus: HOPE CAT manager Joanna Woods. "CATIA’s dominance as the design tool of choice in many industries is an important skill set for our students. In combination with an understanding of the DELMIA digital manufacturing tools, our students gain a definite advantage when they apply for engineering positions after graduation."The Focus: HOPE CAT students earn their engineering degrees through Lawrence Technological University, University of Michigan Ann Arbor or Dearborn, Wayne State University, or the University of Detroit Mercy. The DS solutions will be used at the Focus: HOPE CAT’s engineering labs to provide additional practical hands-on training to the students as well as in the student’s capstone senior project where they simulate product creation from design through manufacturing, including all processes and costs involved.The DS solutions made available to the Center will educate students in virtual product development where all product design and manufacturing processes are created, simulated and optimized in a virtual 3D environment on the computer, prior to anything being built in the real world. CATIA is a solution for product design and innovation and DELMIA enables the virtual definition, planning, creation monitoring and control of all production processes. Woods added that students receiving training in these DS solutions will be prepared to serve as manufacturing engineers in a variety of industries including medical, food, energy, consumer products, aerospace, automotive, heavy equipment, etc., noting, "All of these industries rely upon sophisticated computer programs to create their products and plan their manufacturing processes." "We are proud to be partnered with such a distinguished institution as Focus: HOPE," said Roy Smolky, DELMIA Worldwide Academic Relations, Dassault Systèmes. "It is through efforts like this that we can foster interest in the engineering careers that are vital to our nation’s economic advantage.""Our engineering program is distinguished by its hands-on training component," said Focus: HOPE co-founder Eleanor Josaitis." "Acquiring these software applications gives us the tools to provide exceptional learning experiences for our students."www.campus.3ds.comwww.focushope.edu
With a number of tenants already in place and construction about to begin on a major materials laboratory, McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) is quickly taking shape.When complete, the park will house laboratory, office, teaching, training and conference facilities in advanced manufacturing and materials, nanotechnology, bio-technology and other areas in which McMaster University has recognized research strengths.Recently welcoming an initial 60 staff members from Trivaris Ltd., MIP president Zach Douglas says the Red Brick Building, the park's first, is expected to reach substantial completion in the near future and full occupancy by the end of the year. (For more information on upcoming tenants, read "From research to real life.")"We are very pleased with the amount of interest so far," Douglas said. "The building is leasing up very quickly."Trivaris joins organizations such as the McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO), which helps researchers ensure that their inventions and discoveries benefit society through commercialization, at the Longwood Avenue site.Work is also set to begin on the new CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory, relocating to MIP from Ottawa. Approximately 75 per cent of the building will be lab space, supporting research activities in materials development and performance evaluation including pilot scale casting, rolling, forming and welding, corrosion, mechanical testing and micro-structure evaluations.The park itself, set on the grounds of the former Camco appliance complex, is expected to become home to 14 buildings and a workplace for 3,000 people over the next 15 years. These facilities will accelerate the commercialization of research into new and marketable products and services, and create new companies that will provide high-paying, highly skilled jobs in Hamilton, according to MIP.To view pictures of the McMaster Innovation Park, please click here.The decision to create McMaster Innovation Park was taken by McMaster University in 2004 when the old Camco/Westinghouse site on Longwood Road South was listed for sale. The 37-acre site was acquired in March of 2005.www.mcmasterinnovationpark.ca
More than 500 young students and apprentices gathered to compete at the 15th Canadian Skills Competition last month in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The two-day, national, Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology competition attracted 4,000 attendees and featured 40 events in six major trades and technology categories, including manufacturing, construction, transportation, information and technology, service, employment and leadership. A total of 173 medals were awarded to the top champions in each event. For a list of the winners, visit http://www.skillscanada.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=93. "Industries that depend on skilled trade workers are key drivers of our economy and contribute over 50 percent of Canada's GDP," said Shaun Thorson, executive director, Skills Canada. "The Canadian Skills Competition is a unique event that helps showcase and raise awareness for the broad range of opportunities to be found in the trades, while demonstrating the depth of talent within the skills movement in Canada."The 40th WorldSkills Competition will take place in Calgary, Alta., September 1 to 7, 2009, where more than 900 young people will compete. The team competing for Canada was chosen at last year's Canadian Skills Competition.
TORONTO, Ont. - The Yves Landry Foundation (YLF) has already earmarked $15 million of the allocated $25 million for Ontario manufacturers to foster training that will lead to innovation.
WATERLOO, Ont. - The 20th Ontario Technological Skills competition took place in Waterloo, Ont. earlier this month, attracting more than 1,600 competitors and about 30,000 visitors from across the province.
How do you prepare electrical engineering students to work with automation and electrical systems in the real world of demanding commercial and industrial environments?Give them a lab equipped with leading-edge Schneider Electric automation and electrical equipment, staffed by professors at École Polytechnique Montreal.This industry-education link is facilitated by an alliance between the Fondation de Polytechnique, the Quebec Electrical Industry Association (Association de l’industrie électrique du Québec, or AIEQ), and the Institute of Electrical Power Engineering (IEPE), and industry players such as Schneider Electric.Mandated to develop a high-quality training program of electrical power engineers to respond to the needs of the electrical power industry, the IEPE encourages Quebec universities to pool teaching and research resources in electrical power engineering. Every year, 50 promising students from Quebec universities study electrical engineering at the École Polytechnique."The long term benefits of this program will help accelerate the transition of Quebec to a knowledge-based economy, and translate concern for developing clean and renewable energy into actionable projects," asserts Jean-François Samray, AIEQ president and GM.Hoang Le-Huy, P. Eng., Dr. Eng., executive director of the Institute of Electrical Power Engineering, sees industry participation as key to the program’s success. "Industry members of the Fondation Polytechnique – such as Schneider Electric – have the opportunity to help shape the curriculum, give seminars on specific products or design tools, and equip labs with the latest automation and electrical products," he explains.Indeed, labs are the only way to show students the all-important link between abstract theory and real-world, shop-floor, operational constraints. "Automation is very exciting. You have to know each of the products, understand how they interact, use communication networks and software. The challenge is to design solutions that are easy to use by the Customers", explains Michel Crochon, automation executive vice-president of Schneider Electric. "Labs fitted with an automation system supplied by companies such as Schneider Electric offer students the best opportunity to learn how to solve system problems they will encounter on the shop floor."Students will now have the opportunity to learn to operate Schneider Electric’s high-performance M340 PLCs linked to a multi-protocol architecture (Modbus, CANopen, Ethernet TCP-IP) connected with an HMI and a SCADA system. The system also includes variable speed drives and power meters to allow remote monitoring/control of the machines."These new tools will allow students to work on projects in a technological environment that simulates leading-edge industrial facilities", says École Polytechnique CEO Christophe Guy.The result? IEPE and other École Polytechnique graduates garner a reputation for quickly learning how to successfully execute the on-the-job requirements of their new employers.www.polymtl.cawww.schneider-electric.ca
AURORA, Ont. - In tough economic times, training is more important than ever. Manufacturing AUTOMATION understands this and wants to know how your company is meeting its training needs in today's market. To take our brief, nine-question survey, please click here.
OTTAWA, Ont. - The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), recently announced federal support for a project entitled Supporting Women's Leadership in the Advanced Technology Sectors. Run by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, Women in Technology (CATA WIT), the project will encourage more women to consider the advanced technology field, and help those women already working in the field to improve the skills, knowledge and expertise they need for success.
SARNIA, Ont. - Lambton College, in Sarnia, Ont., will be training more apprentices to meet the local demand for workers in the construction sector and equipment maintenance, thanks to an investment by the Ontario government.
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